201804.13
4
8

There Aren’t Two Labor Markets

Allusions to a labor shortage continue to be ubiquitous. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published yet another such story under the headline Iowa’s Employment Problem: Too Many Jobs, Not Enough People. Ostensibly about the experiences of companies trying to hire in the one state, the implication was clear enough. If Iowa, IOWA, has…

201804.06
4
6

Payroll Time

Never get hung up on one payroll report, good or bad. The Establishment Survey series, seasonally-adjusted and statistically smoothed as much as humanly possible, is still incredibly noisy. It didn’t used to be this way, which is an important clue that “something” has changed. The lack of consistency in the monthly measurement is as the…

201803.07
4
3

Really Looking For Inflation, Part 2

Continued from Part 1 What these unusually weak productivity estimates lean toward is, quite simply, the possibility the BLS has been overstating jobs gains for years. In early 2018, there is already the hint of just that problem in a 4.1% unemployment that doesn’t lead to any acceleration in wages and labor income. What it…

201803.07
2
3

Really Looking For Inflation, Part 1

Most people have been looking at Jerome Powell’s Chairmanship of the Federal Reserve as continuity, a comprehensive extension of Janet Yellen’s (and therefore Bernanke’s). This would by nature include all the nasty habits Chairman Yellen had picked up during her one term. At the top of that list is the word “transitory”, particularly how it…

201802.02
7
1

Where’s The Inflation? Average Weekly Earnings Flat, Focus on 200k Instead Which Isn’t Even A Good Number

The unemployment rate, I’m sorry to report, didn’t tumble all the way to zero. Pity. It did stay at 4.1% for the fourth straight month. Because of that, wage pressures should be exploding right now. That seems to be the verdict in markets this morning, a rumble of inflation shot right through everything at the…

201801.10
3
2

Which One Really Belonged On Yellen’s Dashboard?

The latest JOLTS survey from the BLS suggests nothing much has changed from that particular view of the labor market. The level of estimated Job Openings (JO) while down slightly over the last few months remains exceedingly high. By contrast, the rate of monthly Hires (HI) continues to be subdued, if at the high end…

201707.31
8
4

Hyping Lean

Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman succeeded in 2013 in ousting Procter & Gamble’s CEO Bob McDonald. It was noteworthy at the time because the company issued a strange memo repeating often verbatim answers to questions it posed to itself. Among them was if Mr. McDonald was fired or, as had been relayed publicly, he…

201701.10
3
0

Labor Stats Are A Big Problem

The updated estimates from the BLS for its JOLTS data largely confirm observations from other labor markets figures. The rate of Job Openings in November 2016 was slightly more than October, but still not appreciably different than what it has been over the past two years. The JOLTS survey indicated Job Openings first reached 5.5…

201701.06
6
0

Factories Or Money?

There are a few parts of the payroll reports that do make sense without requiring alternative interpretation. Among these face value statistics is the estimate for manufacturing payrolls. The BLS figures that employment in the manufacturing sector peaked in July 2015 and has been declining ever so gently since then. Total job losses are just…

201611.09
Off
0

No Love From JOLTS

The BLS reported that the rate of hiring in the US continues to be sluggish and sideways. Total hiring across the labor market was estimated to be 5.08 million (SA) in September, down from August and the second slowest rate this year. Since first surpassing 5 million back in September 2014, the overall pace of…